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Spotify subscribers, Sonos wants to get to know you

The speaker maker plans to focus its message on streaming-music fans.

Sonos One
The Sonos One speaker.
Sarah Tew/CNET

Sonos makes higher-end speakers. For the past decade, CEO Patrick Spence said, the company tried to let as many people know that as possible. That's changing.

After Sonos went public Thursday morning, Spence said in an interview that his company will do a lot more to focus its message about Sonos, whose gear is well-regarded among audiophiles but not nearly as mainstream as Kleenex or the Kardashians.

Expect to see a lot more advertising and messaging directed at customers of streaming-services like Spotify, Apple Music and Pandora, Spence said, which should get the Sonos name in front of folks who are more likely to buy a speaker. An early step came on Father's Day this year, when Sonos teamed up with Spotify on a music playlist promotion.

Sonos' potential audience is still substantial. Spotify has 75 million paying members and Apple Music has 40 million.

"We were kind of spreading the message and trying to reach everybody," Spence said at the Nasdaq MarketSite building in Manhattan. "And now I feel really good about trying to reach the 176 million people that are paying for streaming music, because that's the group of people that are most likely to then want to take the music from their phone and be able to listen to it out loud."

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It'll be no easy task for Sonos to get its name out. The 16-year-old company exists in a tech industry that's dominated by massive players like Apple, Google and Amazon, which have more money, resources and name recognition.

But Spence was bullish on Sonos' prospects, saying his smaller organization can move faster than the bigger guys and that he partners with those companies, too, to provide some of their most popular services to Sonos customers. Spence also highlighted Sonos' robust patent portfolio as a way his company can protect itself from getting pushed around by the tech giants.

If the first day of trading is any indication, Sonos is off to a solid start, with shares jumping 33 percent to $19.91. The company raised about $208 million, which Spence said he plans to use for product development and international expansion.

Sonos brought in just under $1 billion in revenue last year but posted a loss of $14.2 million. It cut 6 percent of its employees, 96 people, to boost its profitability ahead of its IPO.

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